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The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing, rack,

When the morning star shines dead:

As on the jag of a mountain-crag

Which an earthquake rocks and swings

An eagle alit one moment may sit

In the light of its golden wings.

And, when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath, Its ardour of rest and of love,

And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of heaven above,

With wings folded I rest on mine airy nest,

As still as a brooding dove.


That orbed maiden with white fire laden

Whom mortals call the Moon

Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor
By the midnight breezes strewn ;

And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,

May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The Stars peep behind her and peer.

And I laugh to see them whirl and flee

Like a swarm of golden bees,

When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,—
Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,

Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.


I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,

And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;

The volcanoes are dim, and the Stars reel and swim, When the Whirlwinds my banner unfurl.

From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,

Over a torrent sea,

Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof;

The mountains its columns be.

The triumphal arch through which I march,
With hurricane, fire, and snow,

When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-coloured bow;

The Sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,

While the moist Earth was laughing below.


I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky:

I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.

For after the rain, when with never a stain

The pavilion of heaven is bare,

And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams Build up the blue dome of air,

I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,

And out of the caverns of rain,

Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,

I arise, and unbuild it again.



Hail to thee, blithe spirit—

Bird thou never wert-
That from heaven or near it

Pourest thy full heart

In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.


Higher still and higher

From the earth thou springest,

Like a cloud of fire;

The blue deep thou wingest,


And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.


In the golden lightning

Of the sunken sun,

O'er which clouds are bright'ning,

Thou dost float and run,

Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.


The pale purple even

Melts around thy flight;

Like a star of heaven,

In the broad daylight

Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight—


Keen as are the arrows

Of that silver sphere
Whose intense lamp narrows

In the white dawn clear,

Until we hardly see, we feel, that it is there.


All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud,

As, when night is bare,

From one lonely cloud

The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.


What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?

From rainbow-clouds there flow not

Drops so bright to see

As from thy presence showers a rain of melody :—


Like a poet hidden

In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,

Till the world is wrought

To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:


Like a high-born maiden

In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden

Soul in secret hour

With music sweet as love which overflows her bower:


Like a glow-worm golden

In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden

Its aërial hue

Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view:


Like a rose embowered

In its own green leaves,

By warm winds deflowered,

Till the scent it gives

Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves.


Sound of vernal showers i
On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,—

All that ever was,

Joyous and clear and fresh,—thy music doth surpass.


Teach us, sprite or bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine:

I have never heard

Praise of love or wine

That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.


Chorus hymeneal

Or triumphal chaunt,

Matched with thine, would be all

But an empty vaunt

A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

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What objects are the fountains

Of thy happy strain?

What fields, or waves, or mountains?

What shapes of sky or plain?

What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?


With thy clear keen joyance

Languor cannot be :

Shadow of annoyance

Never came near thee:

Thou lovest, but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.


Waking or asleep,

Thou of death must deem

Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream,

Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?


We look before and after,

And pine for what is not:

Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught;

Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.


Yet, if we could scorn

Hate and pride and fear,

If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,

I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.


Better than all measures

Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures

That in books are found,

Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

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